tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS August 4, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
the cbs news with katie curic is next. anita is in for derek at 7:00 and we start bright and early tomorrow with our morning team tomorrow. arriage is unconstitutional. i'm katie couric. also tonight, he's been waiting 107 days to say this. >> the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end. >> couric: a cbs news exclusive. inside the violent world of white supremacist gangs. and self-made stars. youtube, the new place for discovering new talent. ♪ i've been away for a while now... ♪ captioning sponsored by cbs
from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. it's a hotly debated issue in this country, almost certainly headed to the supreme court. do gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry? in california today, a federal judge said they do, striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, a ban that had been approved by voters two years ago. priya david begins our coverage of this landmark case. >> reporter: two years of rallies, protests and marches led up to judge vaughn walker's landmark ruling this afternoon, that california's proposition 8 banning gay marriage is unconstitutional. judge walker wrote: the same protection for civil right which is ended segregation. california's highest court legalized gay marriage in may, 2008, and about 18,000 same-sex
couples promptly tied the knot. >> i now pronounce you married under the laws of the state of california. >> reporter: but by november, outraged californians overturned gay marriage by voting in the proposition 8 ban. >> it will never be right. >> reporter: that led these two couples and the city of san francisco to file suit. >> this is a victory for the american people. it's a victory for our justice system. >> reporter: today in san francisco, they were exuberant over judge walker's ruling. >> this decision says that we are americans, too. we, too, should be treated equally. our family is just as loving, just as real, and just as valid as everyone else's. >> reporter: proposition 8 supporters promise a continued battle. >> marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children that come from the relationship. that's what we call traditional marriage. >> reporter: still, 52% of
californians voted to ban gay marriage, so same-sex marriage supporters tell us they're continuing outreach efforts to sway public opinion their way. >> we are building solid majority support and that's exactly what's needed whether we win in the courts ultimately or back at the ballot box. >> reporter: supporters of proposition 8 are expected to file an appeal with the ninth circuit court. from there, it could go to the u.s. supreme court. katie? >> couric: priya david in los angeles, thanks so much, priya. jan crawford in washington is our chief legal correspondent. jan, will gays and lesbians be able to marry immediately in california? >> reporter: no, not tomorrow. the judge is considering right now whether or not this ruling will go into effect immediately or whether just to wait and see what happens on appeal. obviously as priya said, the opponents of same-sex marriage are going to fight this. >> couric: tell us about the opinion, jan. is this judge on solid ground? >> reporter: well, this, katie, is the first federal court test of a same-sex
marriage ban so these are really unchartered waters. judge walker says gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marriage just like straight people do. but this is a devastating opinion for opponents of same-sex marriage. the judge... his wording, he's not just wading into the cultural wars, he is diving in. he offers a forceful defense not only of same-sex marriage but of gay people. there are 80 different findings of fact, including that "same sex love and intimacy are well documented in human history" and that "same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples and that religious beliefs that homosexual relationships are sinful harm gays and lesbians." >> couric: and, jan, as priya said, do you think this is likely to be headed to the supreme court? >> reporter: well, that's been the plan from day one. the lawyers in this case have always had an eye on the court. they believe the skwuss are who is to rule. there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
but, katie, that is a big gamble. as you know, this court is closely divided on those key social issues with four conservatives and four liberals and justice anthony kennedy in the middle. it could hinge on one vote. >> couric: jan crawford in washington. jan, thanks so much for your analysis tonight. now tonight's other big story. the white house made it clear today it is not declaring mission accomplished in the gulf of mexico. there's still a lot of cleaning up to do. but on day 107 of the crisis, president obama said the battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally nearing an end. b.p.'s static kill succeeded in pushing oil back down into the ruptured well-- step one toward plugging it for good. and the federal government reported today that most of the oil that leaked has disappeared and what remains in the gulf is quickly dissipating. mark strassmann is out on the water tonight near the site of the spill and, mark, finally some good news from the gulf. >> reporter: katie, in fact, one of those rare days in this
disaster when all the news out of the the gulf has been good. i'm standing on "decisive," a coast guard cutter just three quarters of a mile from the static kill operation going on behind me and going so well b.p. engineers could decide whether to cement the well later this evening. we flew today over a changed disaster zone in the gulf. b.p.'s well is now plugged and under control for the first time since late april. overnight, surface ships pumped heavy mud a mile down into the runaway well. over eight hours, its pressure leveled off. when the oil stopped surging, b.p. stopped pumping mud. the well had given in, finally. it's a milestone made possible by that rig with the white tower, the q-000 which pump it had heavy mud down the gut of the broken well less than a meiml from this boat. but out here in the gulf, it's a a moment all the ships have worked for, the chance to gag the well and plug the leak. >> we have equalize it had pressure of the sea watt we are
the pressure inside the capping stack that allows us to have high confidence that there will be no oil leaking into the environment. >> reporter: and most of what has leaked, an estimated 205 million gallons, has vanished according to a new government study. 25% of it evaporated or disappeared, mother nature working overtime. another 24% was dispersed either naturally or with b.p.'s chemicals. 25% more was either captured at the well, skimmed, or burned leaving about 26% in the water or on shore in places like grand isle, louisiana. residents here see b.p. already cutting back cleanup crews and resent it. >> in in two weeks, a month from now it will be back here kicking us in the butt again. >> reporter: aboard the "decisive" the coast guard's command center in the spill zone, no one's ready to celebrate, either. >> the coast guard is not finished here. we understand there's more oil that we've still got to clean up. >> reporter: and that's weeks to come? >> yes, sir, it will go on for
weeks to come. >> reporter: and to get aboard "decisive" we had to fly 40 miles into the gulf by coast guard chopper and what we saw for the first 30 miles was no oil at all, none whatsoever. the last ten miles closer to this disaster scene, yes, there's still sheen, but what a difference from just three weeks ago. katie? >> couric: mark, this is obviously a big milestone, but there's still a lot of business to take care of down there. >> reporter: no question, katie, there's so much that is undone, unknown, unfinished. long-term impact on the environment and on wildlife. one study suggests over the next three years gulf coast tourism will lose $27 billion. when will fishermen get to fish again? nobody knows. way too soon, katie, to say "mission accomplished." >> couric: mark strassmann aboard the coast guard cutter "decisive" tonight out in the gulf. mark, thank you so much. on capitol hill, the senate is expected to approve a new $26 billion jobs bill tomorrow. the money would go to states to stop the layoffs of nearly
300,000 teachers, firefighters and police officers. house speaker nancy pelosi said today she'll call the house back into session next week to approve the bill. overseas there was smoke and a loud bang as iran's president traveled in a motorcade today, but was it just a firecracker as the iranians say or was someone trying to assassinate mahmoud ahmadinejad? mark phillips has the latest. >> reporter: mahmoud ahmadinejad's travels around the country are often a security challenge, but at one point as he moved through the provincial city of hamadan it was clear something made those around the iranian president flinch. one iranian web site said it was a homemade grenade, a report it first confirmed by a source in ahmadinejad's office. but as the motorcade moved on-- and as the uninjured president made no mention of an attack-- the event was soon rewritten by iran's official state media. >> iran has denied reports that
president mahmoud ahmadinejad's convoy was attacked by a grenade in the city of hamadan. officials at the president's media office say a firecracker was set off near ahmadinejad's motorcade. >> ahmadinejad is trying to down play the threat to him, the threat to the regime which may signal a fact that he actually does feel that there is a threat >> reporter: the crackdown on the opposition in iran may now be more subtle than it was in the days following last year's disputed election, but there is still plenty of discontent. despite ahmadinejad's claim in a cbs interview last week that he speaks for all of iran. >> (translated): what i say is what the iranian people say. i cannot say anything that is not the will of iranian people. >> reporter: ahmadinejad had recently accused israel of plotting to assassinate him. today's incident may show he has other internal enemies as well. mark phillips, cbs news, london.
>> couric: in manchester, connecticut, tonight, a memorial service is being held for victims of the deadly shooting rampage at a beer warehouse. 34-year-old omar thornton shot and killed eight coworkers yesterday before killing himself. police say he had two handguns on him and a shotgun in his car. the first call to 911 came in just minutes after thornton had been fired from his job. >> couric: thornton's family says he complained he was the victim of racial harassment at work. his former employer denies that. now to some extreme weather around the globe. russia's sweltering through its hottest summer in 130 years. it's also dry. scores of wildfires have killed 50 people. the smoke has drifted hundreds of miles to moscow. today the kremlin was shrouded in smog and doctors advised people to stay inside. meanwhile, more rain is forecast in northwest pakistan where
monsoon floods have killed 1,500 people. 2.5 million have fled their homes. today the obama administration promised to send more aid to pakistan on top of the $10 million the u.s. has already pledged for this disaster. still ahead on the "cbs evening news," putting it out there. wannabe pop stars auditioning on youtube. but up next, the dark and disturbing world of white supremacists. undercover with the a.t.f.'s operation red swastika.
>> couric: the numbers are startling, according to the latest numbers from the justice department, nearly 28,000 gangs are operating in this country with more than three quarters of a million members. tonight, our chief investigative correspondent armen keteyian gives us a look at the kind of gangs we don't hear much about, made up of white supremacists. heavily armed and very dangerous. >> reporter: posing as a gunrunner, this federal undercover agent opened a door into the rarely seen world of white supremacists. >> those are good guns. >> ultraviolet. sophisticated, less interested in a pure white race than the color of money. >> i don't know if you had a buyer or not. >> their criminal activity was first-- robberies, burglaries,
drug sales, firearms trafficking-- then their white rhetoric and recruiting is second. >> reporter: during a two and a half year investigation, the a.t.f. undercover agent met with white supremacist gang members here at this hangout in omaha and other locations around town setting up deals for drugs, guns, and ammo. the leader of the eight-member group identified by their signature red suspenders was one jason "skin" hawthorne, a three-time felon. virtually his entire crew had done time in federal prison, the breeding ground, experts say, for white supremacists. >> what has happened in the last ten or 15 years is that we have seen these gangs increasingly spilling out of the prisons and on to the street. >> reporter: particularly in california and texas and now spreading across midwestern states. at least 5,000 white supremacists in prison today and experts estimate 50,000 nationwide. distinguished by an unceasing appetite for violence. >> that one would probably hurt
worse. >> the constant talk of violent activity. their lack of respect for human life. >> reporter: is this just cold-blooded violence? a thirst for violence? >> for them i think that was way of life. >> reporter: a.t.f. agents working what was known as "operation red swastika" called this gang the worst of the worst citing the use of stun guns stronger than those used by federal agents. radio scanners and virtual carbon copies of swat team outfits worn the night skin and his crew showed up at the undercover agent's apartment who is to rob what they thought was a drug dealer but was actually an a.t.f. sting. >> black hats, black coats, pants, black boots, surveillance equipment, g.p.s. tracker. they were ready to go. >> reporter: but not before some of the crew decided to get amped up for the action. >> they sat at my table, loaded their guns and smoked methamphetamine, that took things to a different level. >> reporter: so did the surprising phone call.
a.t.f. supervisor mickey leadingham informing his agent his wire was no longer working. >> my words were "you're flying solo." he knew what that meant. >> reporter: little did they know, a small army of law enforcement officers were waiting in this parking lot, all eight men arrested without incident. >> it was a relief. i was glad it was over. at least i thought it was over. >> reporter: that's because while awaiting trial "skin" put a contract out on the undercover agent's life and recruit add new gang member to bust him out of jail writing "i know you will make this happen, remember 14 words, that's it, we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." the a.t.f. stopped the hit before it started. the gang of eight sentenced to a combined 147 years in prison for drug dealing and weapons trafficking. 32 alone for hawthorne. he's now serving time in this terre haute, indiana, prison where he first embraced his pure white beliefs. armen keteyian, cbs news, omaha.
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>> couric: president obama is spending the night in his own home for a change. he flew to chicago today to celebrate his 49th birthday. but only first dog bo went with him. michelle obama and daughter sasha are on vacation in spain. malia is away at camp. so the president planned a birthday dinner with friends. and as number 44 turned 39, number 13 hit 600-- finally. >> the 2-0. high drive, center field deep,
going back well. looking up, see ya! >> couric: alex rod alex gonzalez of the new york yankees broke a... alex rodriguez became only the seventh major leaguer to hit 600 career home runs. and at 35, he's also the youngest to do it. jorge knew nose has never stepped up to the plate but he's filled plenty of them. he's been delivering free home cooked males to day laborers in new york city everyday for the past six years. he told us why during an interview with our seth doane in 2008. >> these guys on the street got nothing, i have a family, i've got my mom, my sister, my neighbor, i have a house, i have a truck, i have a job. these guys... >> reporter: you're rich comparetily. compared to them i'm rich. >> reporter: at the white house today, president obama awarded this humble school bus driver the citizens medal. it's america's second-highest civilian honor. and coming up next, who needs to
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>> couric: we end tonight with the quest for fame. ben tracy tells us that in the internet age it's become a do-it-yourself operation. hang your star on youtube and see how brightly it shines. ♪ but with us it's another... >> reporter: 12-year-old greyson chance was the surprise star of his sixth grade talent show in oklahoma. his lady gaga tribute was meant for a few hundred people in his school gym, but on youtube he's now been watched more than 30 million times. talk show host ellen degeneres saw it and created a music label and signed greyson as her first act. >> it's crazy how many hit this is has now. >> reporter: the preteen is now working on his album in los angeles. you've gone from playing in your grade school gym to living here in los angeles making an album.
>> yeah. >> reporter: what do you think of that? >> it's crazy. but it's been so much fun and this is my dream and i've always wanted-- always wanteds do do this with my life. >> reporter: justin bieber is already living the dream. he and his equally famous hair strut alongsidisher in bieber's latest music video. bieber has sold more than two million albums yet just two years ago he was on youtube singing on his couch. ♪ knowing... >> reporter: justin timberlake and usher competed to sign the then 13-year-old to their record labels as bieber told katie, usher won. >> my head was spinning. i was like am i dreaming? it was kind of a surreal moment. >> reporter: youtube is the latest web site to rock the music world. instead of pounding the pavement in cities like los angeles or here in new york aspiring singers can generate a fan base online and turn that into a record deal. >> gives a voice to everyone in
the entire planet who has aspirations of a career in recording and show business. >> reporter: thousands of harmonizing hopefuls are now uploading their work to youtube and myspace. ♪ i've been away for a while now... ♪ >> reporter: singer colbie calliat's song led to a platinum album. and youtube turned this low budget a cappella group into a flashy man band. ♪ i don't know what happened... >> reporter: and took greyson from the grade school gym to hollywood. ♪ and broken hearts... >> reporter: ben tracy, cbs news, new york. >> couric: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. good night.
hot, steamy, sticky. you pick the word and it fits the weather out there now. and we're under a thunderstorm watching in 1:00 a.m. >> already thunderstorms are rolling west of us. the i-81 corridor through shenandoah through martinsberg and toward hagerstown, severe thunderstorm warnings until 10:15. they are racing at 15 miles per hour and that's the same speed the storms were moving a couple of sundays ago that knocked out our power. and the storms are out to west. a couple of storms south of annapolis and right now calvert county moving off. those are not severe but these are the severe thust